Managing Business in an Increasingly Regulated Environment Karen Wanamaker, V.P. Industry and Government Affairs NWPCA
Priority Issues • Health Care Costs • Estate (Death) Taxes • US Postal Service • Debarking vs. Bark-Free • Wood Quarantine • Immigration Reform/Access to Labor
Health Care: Affordability and Access • Americans happy with quality • Concerns over affordability and access • Costs doubled between 1993 and 2004 • 18% of non-elderly people lack health insurance
Small Business Health Plans • Purchase through trade associations. • Same benefits as Fortune 500 and Unions • economies of scale • lower premiums • administrative efficiencies • superior medical coverage
Compromise Legislation • New majority does not support permanent repeal • 109th Congress – Compromise Support • Democrats expressed support for using 2009 rates under current law – tax estates over $3.5 million at 45% • Republicans supported exempting estates under $10 million in assets and taxing those over that threshold at 15%.
USPS Strategies • Media • Congressional Committee with Oversight
ISPM 15 • Bark-Free vs. Debarked • Penn State Study • Congressional Resolution • Department of Commerce • U.S. Trade Rep. • Definition • Clear • Practical • Train Port Inspectors
USDA Ash Wood Quarantine • Dec 2006: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio joined lower Michigan • Maryland (State Quarantine – Federal Pending) • Other States Involved • Not yet a Paperless System • NWPCA • Member Alert • Customer Alert • Magazine Article • Alternative Materials Using Issue
Comprehensive Immigration Reform • Border security • State financial assistance for criminal aliens • A new H-5A essential worker visa program • Employer verification mandates and penalties for hiring undocumented workers • A partnership with Mexico to promote economic opportunities, improved health care access, and encourage re-integration of citizens to their home country • Family unity • Path to citizenship for H-5 visa holders and their families • Federal reimbursement for hospitals providing emergency care to undocumented immigrants.
Comprehensive Reform • Many Targets • Separate Bill Passed • Those Here Stay – From Now On KEEP OUT! • Employers as Immigration Police • Intense Enforcement • Reap Benefits/Pay Costs
Legal Worker Access • Existing H2B Visa – Unskilled Workers • Cap of 66,000 (1990) • Industry Marketing & Government Affairs Committee • Market-based approach to setting cap • NWPCA – Lobbying Staff & Members
NWPCA Coalitions & Alliances Small Business Health Plans • U.S. Chamber of Commerce • National Federation of Independent Businesses • National Association of Manufacturers • National Association of Realtors Permanent Death Tax Repeal – See SBHP U.S. Postal Pallets: NWPCA ISPM 15 • NWPCA Wood Coalition • American Lumber Standards Committee • Hardwood Federation U.S. Wood Quarantine: NWPCA Worker Access • Essential Worker Immigration Coalition • U.S. Chamber of Commerce • NWPCA
What Does it Mean to Members? • Quarantine • Member alert: step-by-step compliance guide • End user alert: member to customer handout • USDA discussions • US postal service • E-mail confirmation system to USPS and NWPCA • PDS for comparable wood pallets • Ongoing negotiations • Worker access • Member alert about industry raid • PalletCentral article • Audio PalletCentral interview with I-9 attorney • Seminar in Richmond with I-9 attorney • Seminar in Atlanta at R&R with ICE agents and I-9 attorney • Chief of the Employment Verification System • Seminar with former INS general counsel and former DHS attorney
NWPCA Participation • Annual Leadership Conference February 17-20, 2007 Orlando, Florida (Committees Feb 16; Board Feb 17) • Federal Legislative Day April 17-18, 2007 Washington, D.C.